Patient Comments: Chondromalacia Patella - Experience

Please describe your experience with chondromalacia patella (patellofemoral syndrome).

Comment from: Mango, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: April 15

I have never had any problem with my knees until I was involved in a motorcycle accident in which my knee hit the road at about 40 k.p.h. I fractured my tibia, ruptured my ACL, tore my medial meniscus, and had a grade 4 chondromalacia patella. A specialist told me I had this condition all along. I never had any problems with my knees and am still trying to find if this was caused by the accident or it just made it worse.

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Comment from: 13-18 Female (Patient) Published: October 30

I am 18 years old and have had knee problems throughout my high school athletic career, which has been mostly distance running involving cross country and track. My parents and coaches had noticed that as I run, my legs would kick out to the side in a semi-circle as I brought them forward after each step. After seeing several doctors and receiving many diagnosis that produced no results, including patellar tendonitis, I was finally diagnosed with chondromalacia patella. Once my orthopedist got me to a medical supplier who provided me with a knee brace to align my patella and set me up with physical therapy, there was a marked improvement. Unfortunately, I had only one of the two braces I needed due to confusion with the medical supplier, and my physical therapy was only twice a week for an hour, which was not nearly enough to counteract the aggravation caused by my daily two and a half hour cross country practices, despite my efforts to see the trainer to work out on the bike on days when the pain was at its worst. I couldn't sit still in class, and no position was comfortable for my knees. I ended up "flunking" physical therapy, which I hadn't known was possible, but after finally seeing a medical supplier half an hour away to get my second knee brace for my still-worsening legs, I was able to control the pain. Although I still wasn't able to improve my times to what they had been before all these problems, it was still nice to be able to finish my races without crying, as I had been at the beginning of the season. Now that I have a break from sports for a few months until track, my legs have been steadily improving without the constant stress of daily runs.

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Comment from: ramfan09, 13-18 Female (Patient) Published: October 30

I have had knee pains ever since I can remember. I was very active in soccer when I was younger, from the age of five to about nine. Even after I stopped playing soccer I would have knee pains almost daily. I'm 18-years-old now and went to the doctor yesterday, because even though my knees had always hurt, this was not just an ache but a sharp pain, and bending my knee was also painful. I was diagnosed with Chondromalacia Patella Syndrome. My problem is that along with the Chronromalacia Patelle pain, the muscle that stabilizes my knee is too short to work properly. I have three weeks of physical therapy to look forward to, where they will take a foam roller and basically roll out my muscle, like rolling out dough. I'm also taking glucoseamine pills 3 times a day for at least 3 months. The physical therapy is going to be painful, but I would rather have that than my knee get worse!

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Comment from: syy, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: October 14

I was diagnosed with chondromalacia patella at age 16. It was so bad that my doctor felt surgery was the only answer. I went in for knee arthroscopy, and he also had to move my knee caps down because they were placed too high. At the time, there were no guarantees that it would work. I was told it would either get better or not change at all. Since then, it has gotten nothing but worse. I have tried every kind of physical therapy possible, all painkillers, anti-inflammatories. I have specially fitted orthopedics in my shoes, and yet here I am, five years later, in worse pain then I ever thought. They told me the only thing left to do was to give me total knee replacements, but that this couldn't be done until much later on in life as it has to be repeated many times. I would say to avoid knee surgery at all costs, in my personal experience, it has been nothing but horrible.

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Comment from: mamap, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 13

I developed chondromalacia patella in my late 30s. I have always been relatively active, but not excessively so. The condition just "started," without any injury preceding it. There was no excessive activity before having symptoms of this disorder. My leg would make horrible crunching, popping sounds when walking, especially going up and down stairs or hills. Finally, my doc scheduled an MRI that discovered the cause of my discomfort.

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Comment from: sunfireL33, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 13

My PFS seems to be directly related to unfortunate genetics; at 25 I have dislocated my patella 5 times and have been in rehab for over a year and a half (this time around). Keep your quads and glutes in good shape and take glucosamine/chondroitin supplements religiously and it'll stay manageable. Once you stop taking it is when you notice the pain and discomfort increase. Also, have your feet looked at for alignment and candidacy for orthotics; by adjusting my right heel it takes 80% of the pressure off my right knee. A patella strap is also something to try (cho-pat, mcdavid make them), which will help with your patella alignment when walking or being active. At any rate, I've been dealing with this for 10 years and am now a candidate for micro-fracture surgery to correct it because I've been incredibly active and aggressive with sports and rehab. Find a great physical therapist and an adjusted work-out routine would be my best advice to any of you!

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